Friday, April 04, 2008

About Grieving

The funny thing about grief is the way, for days at a time, it seems to have disappeared. You feel happy and contented and think to yourself--"Well, you know this isn't so bad. I'll get over this, I know it..." And then, in a moment when you least expect it there it is, pressing in on you like a fat cat perched on you chest. Which is how I discovered myself crying during yoga last night. I tried to hide it--brushed away the tears and closed my eyes to concentrate on my breath--but there it was. And then a few seconds later, it was gone again. Just like that.

The worst part about all of this, though, is figuring out how to deal with other people. The people who want and seem to need to help me. Good, kind people whom I love and respect... In the process of all of this I think I've discovered that the world is divided into two basic groups of people: those who are comfortable with grief and those who feel nervous and unsettled in its presence.

Those who are comfortable with grief feel no need to offer me empty platitudes. They just acknowledge that something terrible has happened, let me know they're there for me and then step back. Let me come to them when and if I want.

Those who feel unsettled by grief--and until January 1, 2004 I was one of them; but that's another story altogether--seem to feel the need to fill the empty space with empty assurances. They want to do or say something that will make me feel better...

They say its so common, this miscarriage thing.

But just because its common doesn't mean it hurts any less.

They say there's only like a 25% chance that I'll have another one.

But there was only a 5% chance that I'd miscarry after seeing the heartbeat and look where that statistic brought me.

They say everything happens for a reason.

But just because there's a reason doesn't mean it hurts any less.

The best thing you can do with grief is acknowledge its presence and then let it pace the room like the angry beast it is. Eventually it will lie down. Eventually it will get tired of you and slink off to its own corner to lick its paws. Let it wear itself out because if you take the opposite approach and try to silence it and cover it up and tame it with logic you'll only make it angrier. More aggressive.

Grief requires a terrible sort of patience.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i would argue it takes more patience.

but that's just me.

if you ever need to vent your frustration with friends and loved ones who just say the wrong thing (that part about "everything happens for a reason" is perhaps the worst of the worst)... you can always talk to me. i've never gone through what you're going through, and i acknowledge that wholeheartedly... but i have so been there with the people who think they're saying comforting things but everything they said only made me feel worse.

i hope i never fall into that category for you... even if i am on the other end of the country. i only want you to know that i'm in pain for you and that you're on my heart :)

and the only "platitude" i will offer is this...

"this too shall pass" ... when, i don't know. but it will and you'll feel yourself again. i promise.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

There are many truths here. It is hard to communicate to friends or loved ones that you appreciate their attempts at comfort, but that they are not comforting you in the right way. So often, it feels like their "answers" are designed to make it all better, when in truth, it is not.

In times of grieving, what I have always appreciated is: acknowledgment (not trying to diminish what I feel), a warm hug, and some space. Simple, but effective.

8:49 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home